Value-for-money government

18 02 2008

By PR Cracken

Black Ops Bob Coulter on the Assembly Commission tells us that the Commission is undertaking an environmental audit to assess ‘where energy use could be minimized‘.

His UUP colleague Roy Beggs Jnr helpfully does his bit to support the work of the auditors. Roy implies that somewhat less energy can be expended by the Assembly Commission in the publication of the Weekly Information Bulletin.

Thanks to a series of questions from Roy, we’ve learned that the Jan 19 edition of this must-read for folks on the hill cost £219 to print. (Over and above materials, does that include man-hours expended on page layout, proof-reading, binding, circulating etc?)

At this rate, monthly printing costs must come in at least £800. When annualised over the year the expense sits around £9,500… but I’m quite sure the bulletin doesn’t get published during recess. (Though it might be a useful question to ask.) Safe to say the weekly bulletin costs several thousands pounds a year to print off. Not for MLAs cost-saving e-publishing!

Nonetheless, for £219 you can guarantee that this super-soaraway bulletin was a bargain that boasted entirely new, up-to-minute news and views from across Stormont. Erm… take it away Bob!

Mr R Beggs asked the Assembly Commission to detail, out of the 81 pages of the Weekly Information Bulletin of Saturday 19 January, the number of pages that remained unaltered from the edition dated Saturday 12 January.

The Representative of the Assembly Commission (Rev Dr R Coulter): Thirty one pages were unchanged in the Weekly Information Bulletin of 19 January 2008. The content of the Bulletin will be considered as part of the root and branch review of the Assembly’s printing requirements to be carried out in early 2008.

So… almost half the bulletin was reprinted in full. That cost £219. I’m no accountant, but I think I’ve spotted a way to cut those costs in half…

Never fear, the Commission is on the case. Black Ops and his fellow Commissioners moved swiftly to cut down on costs and protect the public purse by slashing the print run from 163 copies… (remember inexpensive intranet & e-publishing)… to 157 copies!

Based on the figures available that’s a grand saving of £8.06. Well done chaps! 16% pay rises all round!




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